Monday, July 10, 2006

3086km: Pitstop Bredasdorp

Yesterday at 11:15 I set off on my first multi-day road trip with my odometer exactly at 2800 km.
The bike does not look particularly pretty. I took the red carry case off the back, and tied a large bag onto the back seat which contains my 2 -man tent, a sleeping bag, a gas stove, cutlery, food, and some clothes.

I rode up Sir Lowry's pass to Grabouw (average up the pass approximately 50km/h). Then I turned off the highway and headed across the beautiful Hottentots Holland mountains and the Theewaterskloof dam to the small town of Villiers. The trip was just over 70 km, and I reached there at approximately 13:00. I supported the local economy and bypassed the well-known shops to go to a small cafe on the side of the road where I bought a stale pie (made in Gansbaai) and a Pepsi for R11.00. One person appraoched me and asked where I was headed with this lawnmower with the big load.

So I left Villiers and followed a beautifully scenic route down a valley through wich the sonderend river flows. Most of the road was gravel road and my speed averaged around 60km/h. There was hardly any trafic on the road and at one occasion I had the opportunity to follow two large fish eagles as they flew along the river. The countryside is beautifully green with freshly planted meadows of what I think is either canola or feed for the milk (Jersey) or sheep (merino) farms in the area.

After about 40 minutes of travel I reached Genadendal, a small town that used to be a mission station. The mission station seems to have done a good job in Christianising the community because everybody on the streets were dressed in suits and ties. They were obviously not very good in developing the community because it was clear that the area was still quite poor. Of course, I could not go into any of the four or five museums in the area, because it was Sunday and they were only open on the other 6 days of the week. So I headed for my final destination, Greyton, a few kilometres further on.

Greyton is a really quaint little town with beautiful houses, lovely gardens, mostly gravel roads, at least 40 guest houses, several art shops, handmade material shops, restaurants, and a chocolate shop. (No Automatic Teller Machine.) I searched for the municipal campsite which I finally found outside of town on the side of the Sonderend river. There were no other campers. No Electricity. No warm water (although there is a place to make a fire to warm water. The fire was only made the next morning at 10:00 when I was on my way out of the camp site.) The lady who runs the campsite moved there 8 years ago and she does not have electricity in her house either. She runs a television off some car batteries.

I pitched my tent and then headed to explore the town and the nature reserve. I had to make way for several cows and one bull with an ominous rope through his nose as I drove through the town. It suddenly hit me that a RED Gomoto is probably a bit of a liability when it comes to navigating one's way through a heard of cattle. But everything happened without much trouble.

The mountains in the area are beautiful. Fortunately it was not too cold. (I saw photos of the town when the mountains are covered with snow). The unreliable thermometer on my cellphone claimed that it was about 9 degrees celcius during the night.

After hiking in the mountains I cooked my rice. (Something that is a treat because nobody in my household eats rice). As the sun went down I crawled into the tent and read about 50 pages from a textbook on Postmodern Curriculum Theory with the aid of the led light of a head torch that I own.

A phonecall from a relative reminded me that the world cup soccer final had started at 20:00, and not at 21:00 as usual. So I jumped on my bike and drove the 4 km back to town to the restaurant that had advertised that they would screen the event. The restaurant was really smart. Smarter than the Spur! And better run as well. I got to see the final on a large flat screen (amazing quality). Around me was about 20 other people, of whom several were foreigners. Wealthy people, who were obviously either on holiday, or owned a second or third home in the area. They were all sipping wine from large glasses. I bought myself a small can of Coke for R8. (R8.00 &#%$&!!!).

I left the extremely warm lounge, managed to dodge two fierce looking dogs roaming the road (I always thought dogs were my friends, until I started riding bicycles and motorcycles), and crawled into a now-cold tent.

I only tried to stick my nose out of the tent after 08:00 this morning. It was really cold, and everything outside was wet with some kind of precipitation. In fact the inside of the flysheet of my tent was also wet, and that proved to be quite a challenge, because the sun was just not coming over the mountains. (I saw the sun for the first time at 10:00 in the morning, but by that time I had decided to try to dry the tent with my towel and to pack up because I had to get to Bredasdorp, and hopefully to Cape Aghullas after that. My cellphone battery suddenly died on me (it should not have, but perhaps I spent too much time talking to my family on Sunday.) So my stress levels were a bit higher than they should have been. (Strange though: because if something had to happen to me, I would not really know if a cellphone would have made my life any better.)

But that is the reason why I am in an internet cafe in Bredasdorp in stead of exploring the southern most tip of Africa. My phone is busy charging in a cellphone shop.

Cost so far:

Pie and Coke in Villiers: R11.00
Drinks During World Cup Match: R20.00
Cost to pitch tent for night: R40.00
Cost of Petrol when I filled up at Riviersonderend: R32.00
Lunch at Bredasdorp: R33.00 (+R7 tip) = R40.
Cost of time at internet cafe: R20.00 (What a waste! The connection is also extremely slow!)

I'm not going to add everything up now.

Oh yes. I bought myself a long sleeve t-shirt at Mr. Price for R29.00. I felt just a little bit too cold last night. There is a bite in the air and apparently there is a cold front moving in.

But now my time is up, and I need to go on my adventures again.


Michelle said...

Looking forward to the next exciting installment! :)

Weiers said...

Hehe... My wife asked if I enjoyed the trip and I said that I had probably done "more exciting" things before, like jumping down waterfalls in the Suicide Gorge (Nothing can beat the excitement of that). Sometimes it is not about the excitement. It is about the drone of the 125 cc engine under you as you ride at 70 km/h through a rolling landscape.

On the first evening I just lay for 20 minutes under a large pine tree staring up into its branches. And I can't even say that I had any significant thoughts in my head. (I'm going senile).

Imagine being able to do this for a week or two weeks at a time.

Anyway... with it not being extra-ordinarlily exciting, there is probably also not all that much to report, except for random musings.